Julie Kemp Pick
"You can do it Mom, we're almost there," I tried to say calmly as we were in the middle of a crossfire between flying balls and leaping athletic shoes. She stopped several times, securely braking her walker to replenish her supply of snacks and liquids; fearless in the heat of danger. Finally she entered the car safely, unmarked yet compelled to reapply her lipstick. A task that was more important than making sure her seat belt was on and both legs were traveling inside the vehicle. Our mission was to hunt down great deals for our boys before they headed back to school, and to find a present or two for my brother's upcoming birthday.
This was a special event as both our boys and their fun-loving uncle were with us. My brother and my older son hate to shop, and until recently so did my younger son. We didn't arrive at the outlet mall until after 5:00, so we had no time to waste. My brother is a fast shopper who quickly surveys one store and moves on to the next. Then he and my older son would throw the softball around outside, while they were waiting for us.
My mom and younger son like to take their time rummaging through every rack and shelf. Suddenly, he began to speed things up by ripping off his shirt in the middle of the aisle each time he tried something on. Then my job was to find his shirt which was usually lying on the middle of the floor.
At one point, we couldn't agree on which stores to go to, so we all split up. Later I went to check on my mother who was in a boutique store a few doors down from us. I panicked when I couldn't find her, but then I saw her red head pop up. She was perfectly happy in this little store, while I was running back and forth checking on everyone. Yes my boys are 20-something, but on this rare occasion they actually wanted my opinion.
After we closed down the joint, we went for a big dinner at one of the few restaurants that was open after 9:00 PM. We were all exhausted from our shopping trip where every boy walked away with a present. As I gazed around the dinner table, I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. I'm so thankful that they willingly participate in our silly family outings, and realize that these moments are really what matter in life.
They enjoy spending time talking about my mother's beauty shop schedule, almost as much as playing sports with my brother. I will miss them terribly when they go back to college and law school in a few days. After all the years of attending their football, baseball, basketball, and wrestling events, it really meant a lot to me that they participated in my favorite sport.